Bags in Brief: Toting the value of goodwill
Thursday, October 26, 2017
As temperatures dip, Torontonians are still glowing in the warmth and goodwill that enveloped the City during the recent Invictus Games, the paralympic-style competition for wounded armed services personnel launched three years ago by Prince Harry.
Photos of Prince Harry accompanied by Canadian-based actress Meghan Markle (of "Suits" fame) circulate widely. According to Hello Magazine, 72 percent of voters surveyed think this is the right time for Prince Harry to marry, while two-thirds of those surveyed approve of Markle, his partner.
Markle's photographs sporting her Market Tote delighted the e-commerce vendor Everlane, which graciously thanked Markle on Instagram for wearing the bag.
The effect of Markle's endorsement was instantly evident. The product was an immediate sellout, and it continues to be shown as "waitlisted." No stranger to the business of merchandise licensing, Markle's selection of Everlane follows her earlier alliance with Canadian retailer Reitmans.
Products of relatively similar quality, bearing similar thematic design elements, can be differentiated in value based on star power. But projecting the "value add" in advance of a revenue stream is challenging because the duration of "star power" is unknown. Social media can accelerate the consequences, impacting a merchandise licensing program.
When drafting an endorsement agreement, validity and ownership of the intellectual property (brand associated with the star), term and termination provisions and responsibility for setting and enforcing the terms of quality control are critical provisions. Termination — or cutting one's losses — may be the only option in some cases.
Evolutionary biologists see fitness in terms of adaptability. So do fashion designers.
The star power of a creative director can extend the life of a brand by freshening up classic themes. The fashion house that bears the name of its founder, Guccio Gucci, turned to creative director Alessandro, whose designs — such as those which feature bees and bugs — are charmed by nature.
Fast fashion seeks to share the themes of high-end bag designers while catering to a different price point, relying on the justification that nature-based themes such as bees, bugs, flora and fauna denote fashion trends. When themes become trends, originality and distinctiveness can become antithetical to exclusivity.
When exclusivity is desired, the world of bespoke design provides a unique result, enabling a consumer to create a design bearing an assembly of branded components. Through the use of social media, brand owners and consumers can continue to engage in a community of experiences. Consumers are invited to mix and match design elements for handbags, as seen at bricks and mortar stores or online, e.g. Furla; and for shoes, as seen at Tanya Heath.
At left, Furla allows customers to mix and match design elements for handbags. At right, Tanya Heath does the same with shoes.
Rather than purchasing an end product, one design fits all bags or shoes, a consumer may be provided with a "kit of parts," a selection from which a compilation of elements can structure an individualized end product.
Bespoke design couples multiple facets of intangible property — trademarks, patents and copyright, as is shown by Tanya Heath's shoes with interchangeable heels, situated in Toronto's Yorkville. As the face of her company, Concept Footwear Solutions, Canadian-born Tanya Heath draws on her home base, Paris, to brand her line — as shown on the Canadian trademark registration for TANYA HEATH PARIS.
A patent application for her replaceable heel technology names Tanya Heath and her co-inventors Florent Lucas and Jean-Paul Vetele, for a shoe and heel system.
Whether following the stars or enabling creation of individualized personal designs, consumers embrace the novelty, utility and ingeunity which is "pursonified" when form and function tote the value of goodwill.
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